Children from Opatovská experienced a storm of emotions


Children from Opatovská experienced a storm of emotions

Rallye Opatovská – Living at full throttle is a truly unique event that has no analogue in Slovakia. Its 24th year was organized yesterday by the United School at Opatovská cesta 101 in Košice. We can be pleased that our company has been giving a helping hand not only in the form of financial support for this event from the very beginning. And also the fact that five of our managers are regularly involved in the rally.

We talked to the director of the school Mária Čabalová (on the right) and the administrator of the U. S. Steel Košice Foundation Slávka Tvrdoňová a  moment before the start. And here are the most important facts we learned: The track is 59 km long.  It takes about an hour to conquer it. The start is in the courtyard of the school, leads through the housing estate above the lake, in the direction of Bukovec, from there through Pereš, KVP, Zelený dvor, Rozhanovce and ends back at the school. There are 25 crews competing. Drivers and children will face several "pitfalls" along the way. At the parking lot in Bukovec, drivers must complete a driving skill – pass between the cones and park "in the garage".  Not only the skill of the drivers is important, but especially the time it takes them to do it, because it is a special stage.

At the next stop at KVP, children compete. They receive questions from different areas. And then in the Green Yard, the children answer another set of questions. In this case, they relate to the history of the race and the history of our city. The points are written on cards and after they are counted, the exact order is determined. Drivers follow the classic itinerary printed on paper on the route, navigation is not allowed. Did it happen that someone got lost on the way? "It has already happened to us that one of the drivers got lost, especially those who are not from Košice. They usually went with the children for a good ice cream or a hamburger, depending on what they came across on the way," says Mária Čabalová.

How do children prepare for this event?

"The children are very happy. We always prepare all year round. We have 231 children in the school and 75 of them take part in the rally, it is always 3 children in one car. We also choose them according to who has not been to the rally yet, sometimes one of our children gets sick, so we always have substitutes. A lot of small children are reporting to us. We have a kindergarten, a primary and secondary school and a special elementary school. The age category of children is from 3 to 20 years. We don't give the smallest children yet, we choose children from the age of 6," said the school director.

In addition to a great, adrenaline experience, children can also win nice prizes. The child crew of the winning car receives a smart watch and the driver receives a cup. Children from the car that places 2nd will receive headphones and board games. For third place, children will receive magnetic plates with a stylus, which is an excellent game, especially for travel.

All children will receive packages with sweets from U. S. Steel Košice, and the drivers themselves will not come empty-handed, who will also give the children various sweets.

And finally, so that the other children are not sad either, thanks to the school psychologist and her nephew, who always organizes his friends, all the children will ride in good cars. Either before the rally, after its end or, as it was last year, the day before the report cards were handed out.

The start of the rally was shortly after 2:00 p.m.  It was preceded by drivers getting to know each other with child crews. Our managers had start numbers from 1 to 5: Tomáš Kuriatnik, Marek Lukačin, Róbert Žihľavník, Stanislav Ferenčák and Ján Bača. Ján Bača had a very difficult situation at the start from the others. He could not race his car because it was in the service station exactly at the time of the event.

We took advantage of the pre-start turmoil and asked five of our managers why they were participating in this event.


Marek Lukačin: I come here mainly because it is an event for children.  Everything that is for children has meaning and significance. Not only for children, but it also enriches us, adults. The best placement I managed to get was 2nd place.


 Stanislav Ferenčák: I have been participating in the Opatovská Rally from the very beginning. I am happy when children are happy. I even managed to win once, but in this case it's not about winning, but about the joy of the children. They score, they compete at the knowledge stations. My task is to drive them safely along the entire route.


Ján Bača: It's always an experience. I've been going to this event since the beginning. I am still very happy when I see how happy the children are when they answer the questions correctly at the competition stations. Our car has not won yet. But this is also part of learning that you can't always just win.  


Róbert Žihľavník: It motivates me to do something pleasant for the children, to make their afternoon more pleasant, to get into a different environment. I have been coming here regularly, for many years.  It is an opportunity when one can meet different stories and different destinies and see the unbreakable will of these children to deal with fate.  That charges me for the rest of my life.


Tomáš Kuriatnik: We want to help a good cause and enjoy a nice day with the children. I'm here for about the third or fourth time.

Waiting for the return of the crews was made more pleasant by music, creative workshops, mascots and good ice cream.  About half of the cars reached the finish line when the good mood in the schoolyard was interrupted by a terrible storm and hail. Fortunately, nothing happened to anyone, only the evaluation of the 24th year of the Rallye Opatovská – Live at Full Throttle had to be moved by the organizers to a small gym.

Nevertheless, there was a lot of joy when the results were announced. We are pleased not only that we supported a good cause. But also the fact that the crew of Tomáš Kuriatnik placed on the third step of the podium.  Tomáš could not participate in the evaluation of the event due to work obligations. The award was accepted by Viki and two other crew members of his car.

Cover photo (from left): Róbert Žihľavník, Marek Lukačin, Ján Bača, Biba Kurucová (navigator of the Vice President for IT), Stanislav Ferenčák and Tomáš Kuriatnik shortly before the start of the event.

Photo: Slávka Tvrdoňová

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